London must ‘seize the moment’ to maintain global leadership amid COVID-19 pandemic:Report
Britain accounted for nearly a third of financial activity in the European Union, which it left last January, and will no longer have to comply with its rules after Dec. 31. New Financial said in its study “Beyond Brexit,” supported by Barclays bank, that leaving the EU would be a seismic change and involve significant disruption for the banking and finance industry’s relations with the bloc.
London must reinvent itself in order to emerge stronger following the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain its position as a world-leading business hub, according to a new report published today by the City of London Corporation.
``London Recharged: Our vision for London in 2025'', produced in partnership with Oliver Wyman and Arup, sets out detailed recommendations to aid the capital’s recovery and enhance its long-term competitiveness by focusing on innovation, collaboration, inclusivity and sustainability.
The report finds that business remains committed to central London and recognises the value of working alongside customers, clients and competitors. Nonetheless, investment in skills, digital infrastructure and built environment will be needed to ensure London remains the global centre of choice.
The report also calls for London representatives to work more closely with leaders of other UK cities to support the Government’s levelling-up agenda. This would help to promote the capital as a global gateway for trade and investment into firms based in other parts of the UK.
The report’s recommendations include:Create spaces to innovate, akin to start-up incubators focused on a specific theme (e.g. Station F in France and Level 39 in London). The incubators should provide work spaces with experts from government, academia and business to coalesce and innovate on specific priority themes.
-Pilot transformation of London’s office stock to support new uses, including the development of ‘hyper flexible spaces’. Motivate SMEs and artists to re-enter the city centre by providing ‘hives’ of affordable work space and access to basic infrastructure.
-Conduct a regulatory review of listing structures to ensure the UK’s competitiveness relative to other listing locations.
-Make the case for visa structures and immigration procedures that can make it simpler for skilled workers to come to the country.
-Equip businesses to benefit from digital transformation by establishing a digital adoption fund and make it easier to access growth finance for business.
William Russell, the 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London, said,““It is more important than ever that London adapts quickly to today’s challenges so that it remains a place where people want to work, live and visit tomorrow.This report sets out detailed measures that can help the capital thrive and evolve as we get through the current pandemic. A vibrant London will help to drive our recovery forwards as we work with the rest of the UK.”
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:“London is today facing major challenges. Coronavirus, the UK’s exit from the European Union and increasing protectionism across the globe are all threats to the capital’s role as an international business hub.Some trends have been accelerated by the pandemic, while others appear to have been reversed. We must reimagine London in order to seize the moment and ensure it evolves in response to this new paradigm.''.
John Romeo, managing partner, Oliver Wyman, said,“Though the negative impact of COVID-19 is undeniable, we believe that it presents an opportunity for London and the rest of the UK to proactively shape their futures. investment, and conditions for success that will ensure London’s future as the international platform for innovation and collaboration.”
Meanwhile,Britain should tweak financial rules after full Brexit to keep London’s financial hub competitive and deepen ties with growth markets in Asia, a think tank said in a study on Monday.
Britain accounted for nearly a third of financial activity in the European Union, which it left last January, and will no longer have to comply with its rules after Dec. 31.
New Financial said in its study “Beyond Brexit,” supported by Barclays bank, that leaving the EU would be a seismic change and involve significant disruption for the banking and finance industry’s relations with the bloc.
Britain is unlikely to get much direct access to the EU financial market but will be a significant “free agent” that can use its expertise in derivatives, trading, fintech and sustainable finance to shape global standards, the study said.
Big, strategic decisions will be needed but a moratorium on substantial divergence from EU rules for at least a year would give banks a chance to adjust to the new world, it said.
“While the geopolitical backdrop is acutely challenging we think there is an opportunity to develop trade in financial services and closer partnerships with markets like the U.S., Japan, Switzerland, and other smaller markets such as Singapore and Australia,” the study said.
Tweaks to bank and insurance capital requirements, taxation and supervision would help London stay competitive globally, the study said.
Britain should set up a commission to review the competitiveness of the UK financial sector, the study said.